“Q” is a brand new app that was launched last November, with a notorious feature – it welcomes all users regardless of their gender and sexual identities. In fact, it is the first gender-inclusive queer social network in the market, purposely designed to embrace all genders, specially those who fall outside the traditional gender norms.
This newborn app was developed by Eric Cervini, a Cambridge PhD student, and was partly funded with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, which successfully raised more than 25.000$.
Cervini decided to create Q in response to the existing hypersexual social networks that thoroughly sort people according to sexual orientation, gender identity and body image. Contrary to this tendency, “Q is…about creating a queer community that is devoted to making its members of any gender or background feel welcome”. Interestingly, straights are welcome too.
Regarding Q features, members have the possibility to choose from an array of dozens of different genders (e.g. androgynous, pangender, etc.), sexual orientations, interests and pronouns. Furthermore, they can connect and engage in conversation with other members, write memoirs, as well as filtering by geolocation, among other things. Moreover, as a way to promote equality and safety among users, it is required that everyone portrays their faces and their first name.
In the photo: Eric Cervini; Source: Q Website
So far, the app is available exclusively in New York, and for iPhones. Nonetheless, people from other places can request access to the cities where there are located by downloading the app. Moreover, it is expected to be soon available for Android phones.
It is worth to mention that one of the things that differentiates this social network from the many apps targeted to LGBT+ groups is the fact that it is intended to bring people together and to promote the development of bonds between members, not being a place to go to ‘find hookups’.
Ultimately, Cervini hopes that this new queer social network will be able to unite the LGBT+ community, and end the common division and exclusion of certain groups in the fight for equality. As he stated, “I think it would do our movement good to bring people from all backgrounds together to cultivate empathy”.
Start-up companies such as Q should be highly praised due to its all-inclusive character, as many social networks, if not most, require their users to pick between female or male, leaving out those who identify themselves as transgender, agender, and other identities that challenge the norms. Additionally, as the online community is growing and is becoming increasingly influential in people’s lives, it is extremely important to have platforms where everyone can be themselves without fear of facing discrimination or cyberbullying.
However, it is never enough to recall that gender is not binary. Gender is socially constructed, and takes many forms besides the traditional standard of “man” and “woman”. Fortunately, some companies and societies are shifting towards a more diverse gender approach. Apart from Q’s example, in 2014, Facebook added more than 50 gender options, from which users can choose from, and early this year it introduced the “blank option” to be filled with the appropriate gender if not on the list. Moreover, Sweden has officially introduced a gender-neutral pronoun – “hen” – which is already being commonly used in the country’s pre-school Egalia.
While these progresses may seem irrelevant and useless for many, for those who face both personal and social struggles, every day in order to have their identity recognized and accepted, these are important achievements and stepping stones for the positive development of more diverse societies where everyone is respected and welcomed regardless of gender and sexual identities.